Never in my life, would I let the thought of using colored golf balls cross my mind.
When Titleist announced that they are releasing the Pro V1s in optic yellow last August, I was almost nonchalant about it – almost. After all, colored balls were historically adopted by junior golfers and beginners who unfortunately don’t know better.
Well that is until Bubba Watson came swooping in with a hot pink golf ball in 2017 after signing a multi-year deal with South Korean ball manufacturers Volvik.
In 2015, when Watson was still using a Pro V1x, he led in two categories on the PGA Tour: strokes gained tee-to-green and strokes gained off-the-tee. The Florida native was 53rd in putting and 7th from approaches. In 2016, he was still third and fourth place for the two categories he led from the previous year, and held respectable positions in the rest of his stats on the field.
After he started using Volvik balls in 2017, Watson cracked. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.
He dropped to 73rd from tee-to-green and his strokes gained from putting, strokes gained from approach, and around the green dropped to 145th, 146th, and 156th respectively, in a tour that had an estimate of 210 members. A win-less 2017 aggravated Watson and he dropped the deal immediately, and reportedly said he was ‘done’.
“I’m just going to go back to what I grew up with,” said the two-time Master champion during an interview.
Back to the Pro V1s, I was passed a tube by an Acushnet staff to ‘give it a shot’.
In the most Singaporean fashion, I said, “Huh yellow color one ah? Don’t want la, gimme normal one. This one like Pinnacle.” (No offence to Pinnacle users and ironically they are also under the Acushnet umbrella)
“Bro this one hor, Titleist spend a lot of time on R&D leh. Exactly the same as the original. They had to develop a new urethane elastomer cover to still offer the same feedback, especially short-game,” he replied.
“Mai la mai la.”
“Take and just go try la ok? If can, blog about it lor.” Nevertheless, thanks for the balls, Acushnet staff.
That right there, was a legitimate display of a Singaporean behavior: can’t say no to free things but free things also need to hiam.
I took the ball down for my weekly round of golf at NSRCC, and I’m not making this up – I swapped flights from a group of single handicappers to ‘strong-high handicappers’ because of the fear precedent I have testing out new equipment and I haven’t touched my club for three weeks.
Doing my routine stretches on the tee-box and I was already questioned by my flight mates on why was I using a yellow ball.
Their response from my genuine reply was, “kua buey ki us ah, come here play with us testing new club new ball.”
My first tee shot was a half-duff, barely reaching the fairway. I had 140m left, and the breeze was negligible. “Soft nine or hard wedge?”, I asked myself. Probably the nine makes more sense, considering I haven’t played in a while, it was a hit-and-pray kind of shot.
The ball flew the green and the cart path, onto the 11th hole fairway. I just did not understand how could it – then I remembered. The 17-percent thinner cover on the new models gave it a small boost of distance and I recalled a story shared to me by Andrew Rogers during my wedge fitting.
Jordan Spieth was at one of the testing facilities and he gained 8 or 9 yards during the trial for the latest Pro V1s. He opted not to switch to the newer models for the new season as he needed to re-adjust his yardage was he to make the change. That my friends, is how particular professionals can be with their game.
I guess that’s where the extra flight came from.
For those who know me, and plays golf often with me, know that my driver/wood/hybrid or essentially every club in my bag, is a tad bit wild. I spend a lot of time looking for my balls in the waste areas, clusters of bushes and hazards. Just three weeks ago, I lost 16 balls in two rounds. Testament to why I gave up my professional status because I was no longer a pro-fessional, I was a pro-blem.
But with this ball, I spent significant less time searching for it primarily because it was so easy to spot.
And I have a theory on yellow balls.
If it doesn’t look like it belongs there, it must be your ball. Because honestly, the optic or luminous yellow isn’t exactly a common natural color. Aside from tennis balls, below are three luminous yellow objects/animals.
I really doubt you’re going to find a yellow frog or a yellow fish on the golf course. Bananas however, might be the only object mistaken for your ball based on how common it is on the golf course.
Performance wise, I have a bone to pick.
The ball felt harder off-the-tee. It may attribute to the fact that I wasn’t connecting with the driver well enough, or a placebo effect from my prior knowledge of yellow balls.
However, the feedback was perpetual between both the white and yellow models. Around the greens and off the putter it felt crisp and familiar. Something no one can ever take away from a Pro V1.
One factor that kept me astonished was its durability of the cover. After ricocheting off cart paths and crashing onto trees, the ball maintained blemish free on its outer layer.
That said, can I have one more box please, Acushnet staff? For more research purposes.
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